SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk has reversed his decision to stop funding the Starlink terminals sent to Ukraine, tweeting that the company will continue to give “free” satellite internet access to the government even if it means financial loss.
“The hell with it,” Musk writes on Twitter. “Even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free.”
Even though it was unclear whether Musk’s change of heart was real at the time, he later appeared to hint it was. Musk responded to a Twitter user who said, “No good deed goes unpunished,” saying, “Even so, we should still do good deeds.”
In the past, Musk indicated on Twitter that SpaceX wouldn’t be able to support Starlink in Ukraine for very long. However, the US military added that it was discussing financing the network with the billionaire’s company.
As Ukraine battles Russia’s invasion, Starlink has proved essential to communications. Musk launched Starlink in late February following the disruption of Ukraine’s internet services due to Russia’s attack. Since then, its internet terminals have been critical in keeping the Ukrainian military online.
According to an updated statistic provided by Musk last week, SpaceX has contributed around 25,000 ground terminals to Ukraine.
The disruption of service might have severe ramifications for Ukraine. Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov stated this week that Starlink services assisted in the restoration of vital energy and communications infrastructure amid more than 100 Russian cruise missile attacks.
According to Mykola Balaban, deputy director of the Ukraine Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security, Musk’s backing is critical for Ukrainian military endeavours.
“For the last six months, Ukraine has shown very good strategic communication,” he added.
“Of course, there are sometimes lags in the communication and some misunderstanding, but at the end of the day, as you see with this tweet [from Musk], we managed to communicate to our partners around the world the importance of supporting Ukraine and Ukrainian people in their fight against the war from Russia.”